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Man leaving with boxTerminating employees is typically a dreaded task, whether you made the decision or are simply stuck with the chore. However, there is a correct way to handle a bad situation while maintaining a certain level of respect.

Call a meeting in a private space, such as an office or conference room to allow a terminated employee to process his or her feelings without prying eyes looking in. It’s recommended that two managers are present; one to act as the spokesperson and one to act as a witness in case the employee decides to file a lawsuit for harassment or wrongful termination.

Do not give an employee a false sense of comfort by making small talk or telling a joke. It’s best to get right to the point. Inform the employee of the termination in a direct manner, offering a brief explanation of why the termination is occurring. If it’s because of poor performance, be prepared with documentation that led to the decision. Do not let yourself be drawn into an argument; rather, express your understanding but reiterate that the decision is final and not up for negotiation.

Next, you must explain the details and paperwork. Tell the employee when he or she will receive his or her last paycheck and what is included (such as paid vacation time and/or severance) and offer information regarding COBRA and 401(k) funds. If the employee signed a non-compete waiver, now is the time to remind him or her. Bear in mind, this news often shocks workers and they may not remember all of what you say. Because of this, providing written documentation of this information can both aid your former employees and assist your business in building a defense in the event of a lawsuit.

Be prepared to answer questions regarding when former employees can collect their belongings and how to handle the transfer or work and/or clients. You should have a transition plan in place before the termination meeting.

As the meeting wraps up, try to end things on a positive note. Offer the former employee contact information for HR personnel that can answer any questions that come up later, wish him or her luck and offer a compliment if you can do so honestly. This allows the workers to walk out with his or her dignity intact.

We’ll help your business with your HR needs. Call Sound Benefit Solutions at (925) 244-1330 for more information on San Francisco human resources.
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